(1 Kings 21:1-29; 2 Kings 9:25-26)

Ahab was the son of Omri and the seventh king of Israel (1 Kings 16:30), who cemented a political friendship between Israel and Phoenicia with his marriage to Jezebel.  Jezebel was the nefariously wicked daughter of Ethbaal (worshipper of Baal), king of the Sidonians (1 Kings 16:31).  Ahab’s conversion to his wife’s false religion soon led to many immoral acts in every facet of his life.

From the window of his summer palace, Ahab could see a lovely vineyard as he viewed the landscape.  He pondered how convenient it would be to turn that into a vegetable garden next door to his palace and decided to purchase it.  To this point, Ahab’s covetousness did not pass the normal boundaries accepted by most men; however, when his offer was rejected his covetousness took full control of him.  Imagine a king pouting and refusing to eat because he could not have his heart’s desire.  Even yet, his covetousness appeared harmless enough to outsiders.  When Jezebel promised to procure the vineyard for him and took his ring, he was passively in agreement to whatever method she might use to get the land.  After she had finished her job, instead of taking action against her for dishonesty and murder, he resolutely went to put his name on the stolen property.  It appears that he had absolutely no remorse for the corrupt judgment or the murders he caused as long as he could possess what his avarice demanded.  When it came to dealing with Naboth, Ahab’s covetousness sprang from a greedy self-centeredness and an arrogant disregard of God’s law. Truly greed can make a very hard heart.

On the other hand, Jezebel had neither religious scruples nor any regard for the established government of Israel (Lev 25:23-34).  She had Naboth tried unjustly and killed so that Ahab could take over his property (1 Kings 21:1-16). Jezebel bribed two mercenaries to bear false witness against Naboth and testify they heard him blaspheme God and the king. As a result of their lies, Naboth was found guilty; and both he and his sons were stoned to death (2 Kings 9:26). Elijah the prophet pronounced God’s judgment against Ahab and his house for this horrible act of false witness and murder (1 Kings 21; 2 Kings 9:21-26).

Naboth, the object of the crime, was an Israelite of Jezreel who owned a vineyard next to the summer palace of Ahab, king of Samaria (1 Kings 21:1). Ahab offered Naboth the worth of his vineyard in money or a better vineyard, but Naboth refused to part with his property, explaining that it was a family inheritance to be passed on to his descendants.  Had Naboth deeply considered the laws regarding property, he might have understood that the land would be returned to him or to his heirs in the year of Jubilee. The concept of the sacred birthright probably accounted for Naboth’s refusal to sell his vineyard to King Ahab. He answered, “The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!” (1 Kings 21:3).


1.Ahab was king and Naboth was his subject.  What kind of strain would that put on Naboth when Ahab demanded his vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-3)?

2.Ahab had an intense desire to possess something that belonged to another man.  The Law of Moses prohibited that attitude (Exod. 20:17; Deut. 5:21). What did Ahab reason in his heart about the imagined need for such a garden?

3.Why did he desire (covet) Naboth’s property (1 Kings 21:1-2)?

4.Did Ahab’s offer to buy or trade seem reasonable if there had been no law against it?

5.What was Ahab’s reaction to the answer Naboth gave him (1 Kings 21:3-4)?

6.Pouting, sullenness and depression seem to be childish behaviors.  Was it a harmless matter for Ahab to dwell on his disappointment and become depressed and morose about not getting what he wanted (1 Tim. 4:7; 2 Pet. 2:14-15; Matt. 6:21; Luke 12:34)?

7.Who came to Ahab’s “rescue” (1 Kings 21:5-7)?

8.What was Jezebel’s plan for taking the vineyard by force (1 Kings 21:8-10)?

9.Relate the events of Naboth’s unjust judgment (1 Kings 21:11-13).

10.Was Naboth the only one who died that day (2 Kings 9:25-26)?

11.Why would it be necessary (in Ahab’s eyes) to kill the sons of Naboth?  This answer is partly based on the research in question #18.

12.After Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, what did he do (1 Kings 21:14-16)?

13.Which prophet went to meet Ahab there (1 Kings 21:17-18)?

14.What was the message God had told the prophet to give Ahab (1 Kings 21:19, 21-24)?

15.What was Ahab’s temporary reaction to this message (1 Kings 21:27)?

16.As a result, what was God’s reaction to Ahab (1 Kings 21:28-29)?

17.In spite of the apparent repentance, what does God say about Ahab’s character (1 Kings 21:25-26)?


The following ideas have to do with possession of property under the Law of Moses.  This is pertinent for understanding Naboth’s answer to Ahab and for understanding what happened to Naboth’s sons at the same time (2 Kings 9:26).

Why might Naboth not want to sell his vineyard (Num. 36:7; Ezek. 46:18)?

Using Leviticus 25:1-55, answer the following questions:

     * How do you know that fields could be redeemed by the original owner within a year or, if not then, in the year of Jubilee?

     * Who could the Israelites NOT sell their lands to?  Why?

In the account found in Numbers 27 and Numbers 36, who received the inheritance of their father?  What would happen if they married within another tribe (Num. 27:7; Num. 36)?

By implication, who usually received the inheritance (You may also search keywords birthright or firstborn.)?

When there was no heir, who inherited?  Give the line of succession.

Who were daughters to marry (Num. 36:3-13; Deut. 7:1-4)?

By implication, who would sons of the tribes marry?

What was to be the inheritance of the tribe of Levi (Num. 18; Num. 35; Deut. 10:9; 18:1)?

What was the situation surrounding Ruth’s inheritance and why the nearest of kin could not take possession of it when Boaz gave him the chance (Ruth 4:5)?


“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psa 126:5-6).

The metaphor here seems to be that of a poor farmer who has had a very bad harvest the year before. A very scanty portion of grain and food has been gathered from the earth, yet the seeding time has come again. Out of the previous year’s famine, he must plant for a new year. Maybe only a little seed has been saved to be sown, or perhaps the farmer has purchased the seed at great expense, in hopes of another crop to feed his family. The poor farmer must sow, or else despair and perish. He carries his precious seed with him in his bag, and with a sorrowful heart commits it to the plowed soil. Though the sowing of seed is a work of labor and sorrow, yet the return (the harvest) brings rejoicing. Works which are begun under many difficulties, and which require much labor, are crowned with success. The joy is more than equivalent to all the weariness and sorrow felt in carrying out the task whether it is the toil of the farmer; the cares and anxieties of the student; the work of conversion and repentance; the labors of the preacher or minister; the efforts of the Bible class teacher; the faithfulness of the Christian parent; the endeavors of elders in overseeing the flock; even the zeal and sacrifice of the Christian missionary. Whoever labors hard, in cold and in rain, in fear and danger, in poverty and in want, casting his precious seed in the ground, will surely come again, at harvest-time, with rejoicing, and bearing his sheaves with him.

The prophets who sowed in tears will reap in joy. The righteous were persecuted and served their God with weeping (Hos. 10:12). Paul wept as he sowed the seed of the kingdom, but he will reap in joy (John 4:34-38). Paul sowed the word of God to Ephesus and many others (Acts 20:17-19). He reminded them of the tears he shed in sowing the seed to them (Acts 20:31). He did not labor in vain, but reaped in joy. Those who sin can sow the word and humble themselves to obey (Jas. 4:9-10). Those who sow in tears of sorrow for their weaknesses can still sow and reap in joy. Jesus is the classic example of one who sowed in tears and reaped in joy (Heb. 5:7). Who could possibly reap more than Jesus?


    1. What reasons might make the farmer sow his seed with tears (Psa. 126:5)?
    2. Why would the analogy of sowing and reaping be such a graphic illustration to those living in Israel during David’s time?
    3. Why would Christians sow eternal seed in tears?
    4. Explain how the time of reaping would bring joy to those who sow the seed.
    5. What does the faithful Christian mother do with her children every day (2 Tim. 3:15)?
    6. How would a faithful, qualified elder sow in tears and reap in joy?
    7. When are we to sow the seed (2 Tim. 4:2)?
    8. If we do not work in the field when it is “cold,” to whom will we be likened (Prov. 20:4)? What will he and we have in the harvest?
    9. What is the eternal seed (Matt. 13:22-23; Luke 8:11)?
    10. What if a farmer sowed the wrong seed or mixed seed? Would he then reap in joy?
    11. According to the parable of the sower, the word of God is the seed sown in the hearts of men. What is the fruit of that seed?
      • Using the vine analogy, what are God’s children in the vine (John 15:5)?
      • Is the fruit which the branch produces grapes or more branches (John 15:2)?
      • Is the child of God commanded to bear more branches or more fruit (John 15:8)?
      • What is the fruit that the child of God is to produce (Tit. 3:14)?
      • What does the Father purge so the branch will bear more fruit (John 15:2)?
      • Some say the fruit of a Christian is another Christian. If this is true and the Christian is a branch, what would the Christian produce?
      • If the Christian bears another branch, and the Father purges the first branch, what would happen to the second branch?
      • If the fruit of a Christian is another Christian, what does the Father promise to do if the first branch produces fruit (good works) (John 15:2; Tit 3:14)?


  1. Find as many ways as you can to show how the apostle Paul sowed in tears and reaped in joy. Remember that Paul wrote at least 13 of the NT epistles and possibly 14. There are examples of his “sowing in tears” in all of his letters. Pay particular attention to 2 Corinthians, chapters 10 through 13.